Drawing Eyes - Building Blocks for Creating Realistic Eyes | Arleesha Yetzer | Skillshare

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Drawing Eyes - Building Blocks for Creating Realistic Eyes

teacher avatar Arleesha Yetzer, Watercolor Illustrator & YouTube Artist

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Parts of the Eye


    • 3.

      The Eyeball


    • 4.

      Tear Ducts


    • 5.



    • 6.

      The Crease


    • 7.

      The Eyebrow


    • 8.

      Variations, Tips, and Tricks


    • 9.

      Class Project!


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About This Class

Drawing eyes can be exciting and extremely rewarding. So much of a character can be seen in the eyes! This process can also be tricky and frustrating without the proper fundamentals. In this class, we’re going to go over the basics of observing and drawing eyes so that you’ll have all the tools you need to create eyes however you’d like! In this class, you will learn:  The key parts of the eye and how they fit together Tips and tricks for realistic eyes This class is geared toward anyone who is ready to create some awesome eyes! (Seriously though, you only need to know how to hold a pencil and stuff.)

Meet Your Teacher

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Arleesha Yetzer

Watercolor Illustrator & YouTube Artist


Arleesha is a watercolor artist and YouTube creator based in the northeastern United States. Her work primarily features dynamic and whimsical representations of the human figure. Primary professional endeavors include her budding YouTube channel with a current subscriber community of over 100 thousand as well as this growing library of Skillshare classes!

Here, you'll find classes on anatomy, figure drawing, and watercolor techniques - all directed to help you improve your portrayals of the human figure. 

If you'd like to connect with me and see more of my work, you can follow me on Instagram or check out my YouTube channel, where I post videos every week. 

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1. Introduction: Hi, my name is Alisha and welcome to my eye drawing class. We're going to be covering the building blocks for drawing realistic eyes. In this class, we're going to be breaking down all of the parts of the eye and covering them in detail as well as how all of those parts fit together. By the time we get to the class project you're going to have all the pieces you need to sketch out your very own pair of realistic guys, so if you're ready to unlock the secrets for drawing realistic eyes, let's go ahead and get started. 2. Parts of the Eye: Before we start talking about how all the different parts of the eye fits together, we're going to define what those parts are. All of the images that you see in this class are Google images that I just searched for. Maybe male eye, female eye or eyes of different ethnicity that I thought would be useful in this class. All the images that you see it from Google. I've chosen this one, its a base to get us started here because it [inaudible] well all of the different parts we are going to be talking about. What I'm going to be doing, I'm going to be working on top of this image. I'm going to be doing this digitally, but you're more than welcome to just grab a piece of paper and sketch along. We'll be doing some more pencil traditional sketches a little bit later. To work on top of this image, I'm going to lower the opacity here and also change it to gray-scale. I created this color key here, we'll be able to see the different parts of the eye a little bit easier. We're going to start with the eye socket and you're going to think of this entire area here. This is basically that hole in the skull where the eyeball sits. Next, we're going to move on to the eyeball. I'm just going to focus on the parts of the eyeball that are visible currently. Will talk more about that a little bit later but this is going to be very important in making your eyes look more realistic is showing this here. For the tear ducts, well, technically this might be the only part that's technically considered a tear duct. I am going to include this other side as well as its a duct for tears. I don't know. Anyway, I'm going to call these two areas that's here dots, for the eyelids, we're going to have our upper lids and our lower lid and I'm going to slightly suggests that the thickness here, which we will talk more about a little bit later, the eyebrow, you'll notice that's right at the top of our eye socket and that's what we want. The brow actually helps to define where the top of the socket is because it's going to sit on that high ridge of the socket there and the last piece we're going to be focusing on is the crease of the eye. Now, we are going to be going into more of these in more detail, but I just wanted to give you a quick overview of all of those individual parts before we jump in. 3. The Eyeball: These are the three basic parts that are going to affect your drawing of eyes. This white area being the sclera, and that of course these two, you'll probably know we've got the iris and the pupil. The reason I've decided to highlight these areas in particular is because I want to talk to you a little bit about how they actually form in anatomy. If you think about an eye from the side here, you might think that the eyeball itself, the iris and the pupil area inside of there just sit back in this area. But the truth is that, there's actually this three-dimensional shape where this section that pops out here where the iris, where you would see the iris and the pupil is the cornea. This area here is the cornea, and it actually sticks out. That affects our drawings very, very little, but it's important to know, and then in here we've got this space here. If you imagine this as being a side view here, this would be our iris, and then actually this space here is the pupil. The pupil, there's not actually a black dot inside of your eye. It's a hole that will leads into this space, and there's a lot of other things going on in here like the lens and the actual nerve where your eye attaches to the rest of your body. But it's important to note, and I think it's just worth taking the time to note that while up here we've got your sclera, the white of the eye. The iris is this, comes down this way, and then the pupil itself is just the gap in between. A really interesting thing that happens with the eye and we hopefully this can explain a little bit of what you might see in drawings here. If you imagine light coming in and hitting the eye right here, this is where you would get a highlight, and because of this curved shape of the cornea here, what actually happens is the light comes in and bounces off a lower part of the cornea, which is why you get that second light. Sometimes when you have like anime style eyes and the eyes have to highlights, often times that's kind of what they're trying to represent is one, and then in the opposite lower corner, you get your smaller highlight. I know I did my highlights backwards and dark layer, but that's the general idea of where those things come from. Here it's like that dual highlight comes from the fact that we've got this convex shape here, and then this slightly concave shape inside here. Convex being that this one comes out and this one's comes in with the hole in the middle, so light reflects in and then back out, which gives us our highlights. 4. Tear Ducts: For our tear duct were going to be using two different shapes. We're going to be using this rounded shape and also a pointier shape. A rounded shape is going to go on the inside here. As far as where you place the tear ducts on the eye, that's going to vary depending on the type of eye that you are going for. I'm just going to give you a general example here. We can see that rounded shape goes on the inside. The pointy shape goes on the outside of the eyes. If we're saying this is the side in here, this is where your nose would be here. Here's a good nose there we go. Perfect, masterful noses. I should definitely do a class on noses next. Anyway, if we pretend that this is our nose, whoops, let's get that out of here. This being the inside here, there's also a little gland that kind of sticks out inside here. But we've got this is one side of the tear duct and this is the other side and you can vary those to create different angles. If I hide those ones and then I wanted to create different ones where let's say I wanted to put this one really low and this one really high and then when I put in my eye lids, you can see how that changes the angle of the eye. You can really adjust the position of these and then draw your eye lids around. Really drastically change how those eyes look. Anyway, ducts are fun. They are like the axes use of the eye. 5. Eyelids: For the eyelid you may be tempted to just draw a curve over here and the curve over here, and well, that's accurate. There are a lot more interesting ways to portray and anatomically accurate ways to portray this. What you want to think of thinking of the eyeball like we talked about earlier as a 3D shape. What you want to do is think about this hugging the curve of the eye. As we come around, it's like hugging, that curved shape of the eye, on both sides so we'll do that first. I'm just going to hug that curvy shape. You can see the eyelid actually covers quiet a lot of the eye and you want to think about how a normal eye that's not exaggerated or surprised or anything like that. You can see a lot of the iris, so that's what we're doing. You can see we've covered a lot of our eyeball shape here, and that's what the normal eyelid will do. Another thing that's important is that the eyelid are not just flat lines, they actually have a thickness to them. Depending on the angle that you're looking from, you're going to get this thickness to the eyelid and I actually really like it on the bottom. This as like a thicker portion of the eyelid here and this is coming up here. One thing that's important to note, we'll talk about eyelashes here too. Eyelashes don't come out of, let's say, up here above that thickness of the eyelid. They actually come out from within that thickness. If I was drawing eyelashes, they would come out this way and you could just draw all of your eyelashes going out in one direction. But if you're going for accuracy, it's good to do like back and forth crisscross finishing, something like this, that overlaps and goes back and forth. Well, obviously not all bunched together, but in a line back and forth like that for your eyelashes and of course, eyelashes are much denser on the top and more sparse on the bottom. I personally, am not a huge fun of eyelashes. I sometimes omit them or just hint at them in different ways. The key parts of the eyelid here again, is just going to be the inner thickness of that hugs the eyeball and the outer thickness is going to curve up. If you think about this is like a fleshy bit, it actually has some thickness to it and we'll briefly talk about the curve of the eye and how that affects that here. On the top we're going to talk about the crease, but on the bottom here, that's kind of how you get the bags under the eyes because you can see the sphere of the eyeball is pushing out the skin, so it doesn't just sit flat. Again, we'll talk a little bit like an eyeball from the side here. If you had that eyelid coming up and around, something like that, and then on the bottom doing the same thing up and around, we are trying to focus on that thickness a little bit. If we had this thickness here again, remembering that this is actually a little bit more like this and this can come in a little bit. What we're going to end up with here is you can see there's a roundness. Its not just flat down like that, there's this roundness that's like the back of the eye and that's where that shape comes from. 6. The Crease: Now that we know what happens when the sphere of the eyeball pushes out the skin under the eye, we have a better understanding of what's going to happen on top of the eye, which is going to end up creating our crease. One thing that's a little bit different on the top of the eye though, is that we have the top eye lid has a lot more flesh to it because it has to close and be able to cover the entire eye. What we end up with is there's a lot more flesh that comes up in this area over the top. What happens is when you open your eye that creates this crease, and when you're drawing it, follow that imaginary shape of the eyeball underneath and that'll help you to get a more accurate crease. If we put our crease in like that, and then one thing that you end up with is where the folds start to spread out, there's like shadow underneath here. Once this shape is in place, it allows us to better render a lot of our eye because we can start to think about this being the curve of the eyelid, and how some of that's going to lay under shadow. This is still that curve coming down with, I like to put a lot of shadow down in here, and we can think about that shadow coming up. This is where a lot of shadow ends up on the eye personally, when I end up rendering them just because this fold of the crease, there's all of this skin that's folding down over the area, and a lot of that ends up being put in shadow. You can think of shadow. I know I'm mixing my colors here, but shadow underneath the eye as well. 7. The Eyebrow: As we get closer to adding the final pieces on our eye, I went ahead and dropped in the eye socket, which technically you usually do first. Usually when I'm drawing a whole face together, I'll drop the eye socket in and then an eyeball within that. That helps me to build my pieces a bit better. Now we're moving on to the eyebrow. What I want to think of with the eyebrow is I want to come straight up from this duct, and straight up from this duct, and then we already have our guidelines in place. If we go straight up from here, we end up around there, and straight up from here we end up around there. Then really all we have to do is basically follow the line of the socket. When you think about the pieces in that way, it makes it a lot easier to put this in. I'm going to block this shape in first and you can decide how arched you want your brows to be. I'm going to bring my arch up a little bit higher actually, then that line I put down. You can see this would be that high part of the brow. If you know anything about makeup or anything, this is often a highlight area, so we're going to leave that blank and then just have our brow shape following other than that following this back. Once you put the eyebrow in you can start to see the eye all coming together and it's very exciting. As far as the hairs of the eyebrow go, if you're looking to portray something accurate, I would recommend starting with short hairs in the front and just bringing those short hairs back. Instead of doing like one long stroke all the way back, you can imply the hairs, but go directionally and sometimes you can even do a bulge in this area where the hairs curve out and around. I like that. 8. Variations, Tips, and Tricks: Now that we've got the basics down for all of the parts of the eye, I want to talk about a couple of variations and I've got a couple of examples here. I'm going to go ahead and hide our original sketch. We're just going to go ahead and work straight with a black pencil. I'm just going to show you some examples of variation. What I wanted to show you in this eye here is this heavy eyelid here. We can see this heavy shape where the eyelid comes. You can see a lot of that flesh hanging over. This eye is also turned at a slight angle, so it changes what we see. I want to show you a little bit how to represent that. We're also going to talk about this more Asian eastern style eye with a monolid. What we have here is there's no crease in the eye. What happens is the eyelid just all folds down in one piece as opposed to going in and out like this eye here. Once you understand what those parts actually are and what's actually happening, it's a lot easier to represent them in a drawing. I'm just going to go ahead and sketch out a couple of examples of these eyes and how you would do that in a drawing. Some key points here that I really want to focus on and rendering these eyes is the fact that no matter what type of eye you're drawing, the top eyelid is always going to overlap the bottom one. The top eyelid and all of these drawings is going to cover up our bottom eyelid and another thing that I want to talk about very briefly is shading. While we already talked about how the crease of the eye creates the shade as well as this shade in here is generally caused by the eye socket. The curve of that eye socket sitting in here and the flesh creates shadows in this area but another place where you end up with shadows actually is under the eyelid. Under this area here, you can see it a lot in this eye down here, there's a cast shadow that is cast by the eyelid and I find that to be extremely useful and extremely effective in communicating shadow in the eyes. I think it just ties everything together and makes the eyes look a lot more effective. In this, you can tell my eyes are getting a bit messy here. My sketches, they're also pretty stylized, but those are just a couple of things that I really like for doing eyes. 9. Class Project! : Alright guys, it is class projects. For project, you're going to be creating a pair of eyes. You may have up to this point been focusing on just one eye, but we're going to go ahead and do a pair now. I am going to start by, of course, dropping in my eye and socket and all that fun stuff. I'm not doing this in time-lapse quite yet because I wanted to talk to you a little bit about what's happening and what I'm doing because we didn't quite get to cover all of that. Important thing about what I'm doing here is, I've got my eyes, I've got my balls, I've got my sockets. But this is not quite right, because if you were to render this out and draw in your eyes and everything, you'd find that they were way too close together. What I'm going to be doing is, I'm going to be moving them apart and generally when you think about the spacing for your eyes, you can put about an eyes worth of space between the two and eyes balls as well. If I think about from duct to duct, this much space approximately between my two eyes. That's what we're going to do. I am going to do some variation on the standard I haven't completely decided yet. But I'm going to do some simple shading to probably not going to get into any painting or brushing or anything, that will be another class. But in here I just want to show my project. Let's do it and I cannot wait to see yours. You are welcome to draw along with me if you'd like. I am calling this eye sketch done. I hope that you guys have enjoyed this class, it was so much fun to make. I cannot even express how excited I am to see all of eyes you guys draw. Please share them with me, share your progress along the way and I will see you in the next class, guys. Thanks so much.